Neoliberal Ebola: The Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak

Neoliberal Ebola: The Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak by Rob Wallace, PhD has just been published on Independent Science News.

Synopsis: The West African Ebola virus outbreak of 2014/2015 killed over 11,000 people. The outbreak has been assumed in the Western media and elsewhere to be caused by a novel Ebola virus strain. The scientific evidence, however, does not suggest the strain responsible is in anyway unusual. So, if not the virus itself, what else might explain the outbreak?

The regions affected by Ebola are undergoing environmental disruption, social upheaval and often impoverishment as a result of land use changes and “investment.” Funded by European and other international sources, large parts of West Africa are being transformed by landgrabbing, systematic plunder and forest decimation. However, this agroeconomic story has been lost from most media accounts. This is profoundly unfortunate. Not only is it an important story in its own right, it is also a better explanation of the origins of the Ebola outbreak. Equally crucially, it has implications for agriculture and the prevention of future disease outbreaks worldwide.

The author Dr. Rob Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and public health phylogeographer currently visiting the Institute of Global Studies at the University of Minnesota.

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